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Top Tips for Patient Participation Groups

June 8, 2015

Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) are now in existence in most GP practices. From April 2015 they form part of the GP contract.

PPGs can create a really useful link out to wider patient networks as most people are registered with a GP and use their GP as a first port of call. The success of a PPG depends on how well it is able to connect with as many patients as possible from the practice. This can be easier said than done as most of us are too busy with other things to think about joining a group or attending meetings.

At an event we facilitated with Healthwatch Barnet and Barnet CCG the following top tips were identified. We hope you find them useful.

✔ Be consistent in promoting your PPG with face to face communications, use a script so everyone is saying the same thing
✔ Let people choose their level of involvement – not everyone can give the same commitment
✔ Be clear about what the benefit of getting involved will be to patients
✔ Think about recruiting people who have complained – help them to understand the processes, they are often those who want to help
Look at different routes to reaching lots of people such as, personal contacts, different local networks, adverts in community settings, school lobby, shops etc..
✔ Not all patients can access a virtual group, ensure face to face is the primary channel and a virtual approach is second
Create a newsletter to explain the role of the PPG
Show staff and patients what the PPG can do by giving concrete examples
✔ Use text messages to communicate with members that attend meetings and emails to a virtual group
Patients and staff can work together to promote the group
✔ Make sure there are feedback channels between Doctors and staff to the PPG and out to wider patient population (and all other combinations of this)
Think about how best to present the findings of seeking patient feedback e.g.. a report, or a poster with simple messages about ‘you said and the practice did’
✔ Provide feedback from the Practice and PPG via the notice board, website and newsletter
✔ Be very clear about the purpose of the PPG and have a code of conduct
✔ Identify patient facing staff who are interested in the PPG idea to get involved
Have GP involvement, consider specific times in the waiting room
✔ Both sides (practice staff and PPG) need to be patient with each other
✔ Keep focused on what you are trying to achieve and don’t get bogged down in too much admin and NHS bureaucracy
✔ Invite staff to get involved and say what could work too
✔ Stuck for space?  Collaborate with other local voluntary sector organisations for premises
✔ Reassure people that the purpose of the PPG is to improve services
✔ Have a monthly patient experience feedback question
✔ Select specific topics and collect general views from patients using simple polling techniques
✔ Feedback to practice and patients – add the PPG to the monthly practice meeting agenda
Include staff in the PPG
Get patients involved in training
Have a clear vision and purpose for the group and write these in a Terms of Reference
Develop guiding principles to underpin the vision and purpose about how things will be done, e.g.. Confidentiality, no personal agendas, focus on improvement
✔ Be sure how the PPG will be able to seek and reflect the views of the whole practice population rather than just those who are able to attend meetings
✔ Be sure what methods will be used to gather feedback so that the feedback is valid

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